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Pump Six and Other Stories
Paolo Bacigalupi

The Demon's Surrender

The Demon's Surrender - Sarah Rees Brennan This book falls much more into the standard Young Adult Fantasy Romance tropes than the previous two books in the trilogy, which made it both more immediately engaging and less interesting. Like, the dialogue and developing romance was snappy reading, but I just. didn't. caaaaaaaaaaaare. In fact, most of the romantic relationships between the teenagers by the time we've reached this last book are kind of icky (Sin and Alan! Out of nowhere! 2getha 4eva 4 no apparent reason! What? Heeeeey, Jamie gets a love interest! ...it's the dude who used to beat him up and occasionally swapped that out for stalking him! Are you for serious?) except for Mae and Nick. The most emotionally resonant pairing is the one with the character whose emotions explicitly - and pretty damn consistently - Don't Work That Way. And, you know, the only one with three books developing that, instead of slapping it all together at the end.

And it's a bit of a shame, because I think there's some really interesting stuff with Sin here - balancing the magic family/nonmagic family, economic and race issues actually being mentioned and incorporated into the plot in the ways they have very really effects on her life!, etc. - but I feel like when push comes to shove, they take a backseat to the And Now We Love Each Other SO Much, You Don't Even Know thing with Alan. And, frankly, they both deserve better (and need to GROW UP MORE before they're pairing off forever and ever, but that may just be my frustrations with much of the young adult genre talking there).

Also also, as much as I enjoy Mae and her prickliness, how much she finds her place in this new world with her deep seated practicality with the carnival, I cannot help but look MAJOR side-eye that has the white muggle waltzing in and kicking out the black girl who's been raised and trained for this all her life. (And, no, the "we'll reconsider this in seven years" thing doesn't make me less eye-rolly.)

Side-eye aside, I did agree when the text explicitly had them say, "Hey, at least we're not fighting over a boy?" Progress! I think?

Also hat tip to the whole series for being exactly as gruesome and full of death as it really ought to be. And for having that gruesomeness and death have explicit, on-screen consequences.